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WE'LL GO AFTER CELTIC; IBROX D-DAY KING UNVEILS BLUEPRINT PS20m-plus over two years to make Gers second best then.. PS20m PS20m for 2nd best then we go after celts.

Byline: MICHAEL GANNON

DAVE KING last night jetted into Glasgow and vowed to splash out more than PS20million to make Rangers the second force in Scotland before setting their sights on Celtic.

The South Africa-based tycoon insists he has the cash to wipe out the PS10m Mike Ashley loan in a heartbeat - but warned Derek Llambias and Barry Leach will be chased out of Ibrox without getting a penny.

King hit out at the Sports Direct henchmen for demanding to be paid up in return Turn to Page 70 From Back Page for cancelling the egm. The Scot has no intention of stumping up - but he does have the dosh to clear the Ashley loan if he believes it is in the best interests of the club.

King is preparing to sweep away the board at today's egm and begin a new era at Ibrox after four years of turmoil.

He insisted all his pieces are in place to break Ashley's stranglehold and set the club on the road to recovery.

King said: "It's difficult to say how much is required.

"I am concerned about some comments I have heard recently that there are other areas of the club where money needs spent as well, so it will probably be north of PS20m in the short to medium term.

"It depends what it means by turning the club round. Stage one, and in a very short period of time, has got to have Rangers as at least the No.2 club in Scotland, which we clearly are not at the moment.

"That can happen quickly.

Thereafter financially the gap between ourselves and Celtic will take a longer period of time to bridge.

"Being a solid No.2 and back into the Europa League is something I imagine happening quite quickly."

But earlier, speaking in London as he prepared to fly to Glasgow, King made it clear he won't put Rangers' long-term financial future in danger in the pursuit of their arch rivals.

He said: "The Rangers fans have had a difficult time and emotions have run high but at this point I'm calling for calmness. Let's get this meeting behind us and start doing what we think is right.

"But there is a very substantial gap between Rangers and Celtic at the moment and for us to narrow that, as we surely will do, then it has to be done on a judicious basis.

"We mustn't ever get into the situation where we put Rangers into financial distress chasing someone. It can be managed in a far more commercial and sane basis."

King is furious at chief executive Llambias and financial director Leach's bid to secure a pay-off to go quietly. It was apt that Llambias skipped town just hours before King landed at Glasgow Airport and the departing chief executive left demanding King showed the colour of his money and the name of his Nomad.

The chairman-in-waiting insisted both are in place while hitting out at the departing Sports Direct duo.

King - who was hailed by Gers fans at the arrival gate last night - said: "I'm not surprised they haven't resigned because I have had the background with them.

"I had a call on Saturday morning saying Llambias and Leach had asked me for a year's severance pay. That is outrageous."

There are concerns Ashley has tightened his grip with a second PS5m loan issued - but King is not losing sleep over the debt.

He said: "I have not seen the nature of the loans. It may be possible, it may not.

"But we have indicated we are willing to put loans in, so I don't regard the loans as being an issue.

"Rangers as a football club can afford the loans from anyone, with the asset base it has and the fanbase if we get them all back into the club.

"A PS5m or PS10m debt is very affordable for Rangers. When I was on the board previously we had PS35m of bank debt and potentially PS50m of HMRC debt.

"So PS10m is not a catastrophic number.

"If the agreements with Sports Direct or whoever loaned the money are commercially robust and gives them the right to withdraw the funds they will be able to do that.

"If they are legally binding and they do that then we will have to refinance that. We would be prepared to do that.

"To me that's just noise level because PS10m going forward is well within the numbers of understanding we have to invest."

CAPTION(S):

DAWN OF A NEW ERA Dave King is ready to sweep into power at Ibrox today

PAY-OFF BID Llambias
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 6, 2015
Words:774
Previous Article:TV SPORT.
Next Article:We could give back Ashley's loan in blink of an eye..but his money might be better off in our hands SAYS DAVE KING.

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